MONTEREY, Calif. -- Roger Foo, of Hayward, Calif., celebrated his 36th birthday in grand fashion Saturday, leading every lap to take his first-career SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship victory in front of a huge...
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Roger Foo, of Hayward, Calif., celebrated his 36th birthday in grand fashion Saturday, leading every lap to take his first-career SCCA Pro Racing Speedvision World Challenge Touring Car Championship victory in front of a huge crowd of import car enthusiasts (part of the Hot Import Day at the Track) at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Ken Dobson, of Carmel Valley, Calif., and Terry McCarthy, of Mountain View, Calif., completed the top three.
After starting second in the No. 88 Griffin Motorwerke Honda Civic Si hatchback, Foo got the jump on polesitter David Leslie's Mazda 626 and motored away from the remainder of the pack to take a 5.701-second win, averaging 75.000 mph in the 55.95-mile contest.
"This is pretty remarkable. I'm basically speechless," said rookie Foo, who had a previous best finish of fifth at Sears Point this year. "At the start, I made sure I didn't spin the tires and was able to pull away. This is a great way to reward myself and my team for a lot of hard work this season."
Known throughout the racing community as the "privateer's privateer," being a small team in both crew size and budget, Foo overcame a close call on lap 12, when turn three became very slippery with coolant.
"That was a real eye-opener," said Foo about the car suddenly becoming sideways. "I made it through, and I honestly don't know how. It was pretty interesting. I kept the hammer down. That's the most sideways the car has ever gotten on me."
While Foo skated through, Leslie, Bill Auberlen and Hugh Plumb all slid off course wide, shaking up the top five and allowing Foo to pull away. Championship points leader Pierre Kleinubing suddenly found himself second after qualifying sixth, but had Dobson hounding his RealTime Racing Acura Integra.
Determined to get past, Dobson made his move in turn five on lap 17 of 25, but made contact with Kleinubing, pushing the Acura wide so his No. 7 Westek Electronics/SSF Import Auto Parts BMW 328Ci could move to second. Despite making a gallant save, Kleinubing also dropped behind McCarthy and Auberlen. At the same time, Leslie's car experienced brake problems, retiring the Mazda.
Dobson then gave chase to Foo, but ran out of time. His second place run was a career best after starting 12th.
"To be quite honest, I expected to finish on the podium here," said Dobson, who has instructed at the Skip Barber Racing School at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "I lost the qualifying race, but was able to run fast and let my experience take over. If there was a guy who I'd want to finish right in front of me on the podium, though, it's Roger. We had some great battles earlier this year, but for 12th. It's great to race for the win now."
McCarthy started eighth in the No. 23 FMG/Image Micro/Du-All/Dinan BMW 328is, and overcame early contact with Taz Harvey's Honda, which removed his side mirror. Once into third, McCarthy held on for his second podium finish of the season.
"I race with two goals in mind," said McCarthy. "Don't wreck the car and try to finish the race whenever possible. We could tell this race was going to be trouble from the start. I finished third, so I can't complain--especially when I finished behind guys like Ken [Dobson] and Roger [Foo]."
Auberlen, who started third, recovered from sliding off the track to finish fourth, followed by Kleinubing, who extended his point lead to 49 over Don Salama, who finished 12th, but won the Travel Quest We Make A Difference travel award. Hugh Plumb, Harvey, Will Turner, Shauna Marinus and Neal Sapp completed the top 10.
Paul Lambert, who qualified 34th in the CES/Stasis Engineering Audi A4 Quattro, moved up to 15th without the help of cautions and was presented the Borla Performance Award.